Ugandans are at risk of paying a fine of Ugx 2 Million or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or both if convicted for littering. Every person in Uganda is now under obligation to refrain from littering or dropping rubbish outside the litter bins.
This is contained in the Physical Planning Amendment Act no.2 of 2020 passed by Parliament for the orderliness of the environment in which Ugandans live.
Addressing the press at Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday morning, Hon. Isaac Musumba Isanga Minister of State for Urban Development said that the law makes it mandatory for every premise to have a litter bin or garbage bin. It is an offence the conviction of which will attract a fine of up to Ugx 2 Million or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.
People found of throwing rubbish out moving vehicle or sugar cane loaders who leave sugar cane leaves heaped in the road, or vendors who leave pineapple peelings heaped all over are all subject to fines under the law.
For landlords, every house must have its exterior painted regularly. It is now an offence to have ones house look untidy and dirty and an offence if one does not paint their premises regularly.
The law further indicates that it is also an offence not to slash the green patch at ones premises. This offence attracts a fine of Ugx 2Million or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both. “If there is a green compound at your premises, it should be regularly slashed.”
At the front of a business premises the owner must provide pavers and maintain cleanliness. It is an offence not to do so. Owner of premises must place a sign with street and plot name on the plot as prescribed by the local Government.
“Contravention of any other above, makes on conviction to a fine not exceeding Ugx 960,000/= or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both on first conviction. If someone is convicted a second time, the fine goes up to Ugx 500,000/= or imprisonment for every day of offence. If someone is a perpetual offender, the penalty is computed on a daily basis” the minister added.
The implementation of these measures has been by law placed in the hands of the Parish and Sub-county Chiefs to support the planners. These local Chiefs are now agents of the Physical Planning Board and are to ensure support in implementation of these new measures.
Under the new law, local Government officials who excel in implementing this Act will be rewarded while those Local Governments which fail to implement the measurers under this Act will have their funding reduced.
“The law now creates a legal duty on every Ugandan to create, maintain and enhance a well-planned environment. To that effect, it grants a right to anybody whether directly threatened by a breach of Physical Planning Development or planning standard to report to the relevant authorities or file a civil suit directly. The complaint or suit may be filed not withstanding that the person cannot prove that such omission affects the complainant directly or is likely to cause personal harm or injury. A toll free number is to be set up as well as a complaints processing centre” he says.
According to Hon. Musumba, this is revolutionary, it means if you are travelling from Kampala to Arua and you see someone building in a road reserve or wetland or protected area in Karuma, you can complain or commence civil proceedings directly. It does not matter that you don’t live in Karuma.
The rationale here is to make everybody a vigilantee for Physical Planning because every Ugandan has a right to a clean, healthy and well planned environment in accordance with Article 39 of the Constitution.